Know How / Environment

Farm payment changes mean that UK farms will need to focus on the environment and help mitigate wildlife habitat loss. Keep up-to-date here on a range of farm environmental matters including climate change, Defra’s greening policies and environmental compliance. Get advice on measures to improve your farm’s environmental credentials through regenerative farming and sustainable practices, such as planting trees, reducing your carbon footprint and reducing waste.

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Sussex farm weighs pros and cons of biodiversity pilot scheme

The concept of biodiversity net gain (BNG) will become increasingly familiar over the next few years as developers look for land on which to offset their environmental obligations.  Doing a…


How to establish, manage and rejuvenate hedgerows

Healthy hedges are a lifeline for wildlife, providing food and habitat, including for many of the birds within the Farmland Bird Index as well as for priority mammal species in…


Environmental pig permits: Everything you need to comply

Pig farmers must comply with new requirements for environmental permits from 21 February, with key changes relating to slurry store coverage and ammonia emissions reporting. With an increasing number of…


How to accurately measure the organic carbon content of soil

How to measure organic carbon in soils and, even more importantly, accurately measure how it changes over time, are major challenges in the potential development of new income streams for…


Biodiversity net gain – what is it, how will it work?

Biodiversity net gain (BNG) requires the effect on biodiversity of a new development to be quantified, and following development, the overall amount of natural habitat to be enhanced and left…


Business Clinic: What should I consider for reservoir plan?

Whether you have a legal, tax, insurance, management or land issue, Farmers Weekly’s Business Clinic experts can help. Building a reservoir is a challenge in itself. Bringing in 'waste' materials…

Case studies

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Dairy's chemical-free disinfectant delivers multiple benefits

A dairy farm in Norfolk has replaced chemical disinfectants with a system using only water and low-voltage electricity. This has helped reduce the farm’s carbon footprint, improved cow health, delivered…


How on-farm interventions keep soil and water in place

A whole-farm approach to water management has seen a Norfolk estate introduce measures that have returned 45m litres of water to the environment. Working with the Norfolk Rivers Trust as…


How a beef farm manages environmentally sensitive grazing

Grazing in an environmentally sensitive way is not new for Farmers Weekly’s 2020 Beef Farmer of the Year, James Waight, who farms 4,400ha (10,868 acres) of some of the highest…


How mixed low-input farming can help grassland biodiversity

Gloucestershire farmer Ian Boyd has turned his intensively farmed arable land into wildflower meadows and introduced herbal leys into the cropping rotation. This has enabled him to tap into environmental…


How a mixed farm uses a regenerative system to combat weather

The last two seasons have really tested just how resilient both Edwin Taylor’s soils and farming business are to the effects of the climate. Farming 800ha at 230m above sea…


How beef farmers globally are adapting to survive

With increasing market volatility and extreme weather, how can UK beef producers adapt to survive? We speak to three beef breeders from Australia and the US to find out how…


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How poultry assurance scheme can slash permit costs

Poultry farms with more than 40,000 bird places could save £940/year on Environment Agency (EA) charges by signing up to a new assurance scheme. Farms with units of this size…


Farming rules for water: What’s in store?

The farming rules for water regulations (2018) (FRfW) were introduced to create a national baseline for good farm practices. They require land managers to take reasonable precautions to prevent diffuse…


River Severn dam proposals 'could decimate farms'

Farmers in Shropshire have raised concerns about proposals to build a dam on the River Severn that could flood thousands of hectares of productive farmland. The structure is being considered…


Farmer hits back over flood work on protected river

A Herefordshire farmer who used a 16t bulldozer to repair soil erosion along a flood-prone stretch of a protected river has responded to claims that he acted unlawfully. John Price,…


Analysis: What a ban on solid urea could mean for farming

Government plans to place a ban on the use of solid urea have taken many farmers by surprise, even though the idea has been kicking around for a couple of…

Latest environment news

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NI Assembly climate change bill would hit farmers hard

Politicians in Northern Ireland have voted in support of a private member’s bill on climate change which, if passed into law, could undermine much of the province’s livestock farming. The…


Livestock targeted as UN seeks lower methane emissions

Agriculture has a key role to play in reducing global methane emissions, so limiting the climate change impact of one of the most potent greenhouse gases, a new UN report…


£500,000 funding available to help farmers plant hedgerows

A £500,000 Farming Hedgefund is available for farmers in England to plant new hedges, hedgerow trees and gap planting. The Tree Council is leading Close the Gap, a partnership project, with a…


Bayer disappointed after neonics legal challenge rejected

Bayer CropScience has expressed its disappointment after its legal challenge to overturn an EU ban on neonicotinoid pesticides was rejected. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) dismissed an appeal by…


Farming and food groups warn Brazil over Amazon land bill

Nearly 40 farming and food groups have warned Brazil they will stop sourcing products from the country if proposed land reforms that could accelerate deforestation are approved. The Agricultural Industries…


UK scientists develop climate-resilient low-water beans

British scientists have engineered beans that could use up to 40% less water and are able to grow better in droughty conditions. The team of researchers working at the University…


Defra 'behind the curve' on climate change mitigation

Defra secretary George Eustice is coming under pressure to deliver firm plans for addressing climate change, which could involve further restrictions on agricultural practices. The Times newspaper has published details…


New EU report points to wider acceptance of gene editing

Brussels has taken the first steps towards freeing up the rules surrounding new genomic techniques (NGTs) of plant and animal breeding – a move which should make it easier for…


Climate change chief calls for food import controls

Strict controls on food imports are needed to help meet net-zero targets, the UK's climate change chief has said. Lord Deben, who chairs the Climate Change Committee, said it would…


Video: How sustainable farming is benefiting Scottish family

A Highland Perthshire farmer has brilliantly captured the positive effects sustainable agriculture is having on his family’s farm in Scotland. Patrick Barbour’s innovative three-minute video, filmed at Mains of Fincastle,…


Prime minister taken to task over plans for farming

Boris Johnson has been urged to come clean about government plans for farming amid warnings that ongoing uncertainty is damaging confidence in the sector. It follows mounting concern over the…


Meat and dairy targeted in tougher UK climate goals

Stricter government targets on climate change will not include forcing people to eat less meat or dairy. The new government target is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by…


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Video: How sustainable farming is benefiting Scottish family

A Highland Perthshire farmer has brilliantly captured the positive effects sustainable agriculture is having on his family’s farm in Scotland. Patrick Barbour’s innovative three-minute video, filmed at Mains of Fincastle,…


Video: Harvest on carbon-neutral OSR grower's farm

Duncan Farrington, an arable farmer in Northamptonshire, who produced the world’s first carbon- and plastic-neutral food product, has now completed harvest of his 36ha of rapeseed where the hybrid variety…


Video: Farmer appeals for 'common sense' after crop flooded

Worcestershire grower Michael Lewis' recently drilled crop of spring wheat has been ruined by the floods. After wet weather scuppered his chances of drilling wheat last autumn, Mr Lewis took…


Video: Farmers in race to save in-lamb ewes from floods

A farming family in Herefordshire devastated by heavy flooding have described the race against time to save heavily in-lamb sheep from drowning. When lambing sheds housing 250 ewes began to…